Bowling Consistency

The beginning bowler's biggest problem!

red bowling ball


After I have taught my students how to use the dots and arrows to properly align themselves for shooting strikes and spares, the number one excuse I hear for failure is

"I missed my mark."

For beginner bowlers (and sometimes long experienced bowlers) consistently hitting their target is the number one reason for low scores. Anyone can be a 170 to 190 average bowler if they consistently make all their spares. Miss spares regularly, and you will forever be doomed to the ranks of the low average bowlers. I'm going to give you a couple of easy tips on how to convert more spares by hitting your mark much more often.



Probably the most important factor to bowling consistency is armswing. Alignment, target, stance, hand position, and ball speed can and do often vary, but armswing should always be the same. The arm should swing straight back and straight forward toward the target, never looped or round-housed. Many bowlers wrap the ball behind them during their backswing. Occasionally, bowling in this manner will produce shots that hit their target, but more often than not the ball will go wide right, or wide left.

To correct this flaw try pushing the ball straight out at your target, then allowing it to fall and arc backwards naturally, while keeping your shoulders square to the target. Try it a few times standing still. Just push the ball out at the target, let it fall and swing naturally down and back - like a pendulum - then forward again. If you do this correctly the ball will come forward directly on a line to your target. If it doesn't, you are rotating your shoulders. Keep trying until it swings straight back and straight forward naturally.

Now, you are ready to try to roll the ball. You should concentrate first on a push away start - straight at the target - and a pendulum swing and second on keeping your shoulders square to your target. This may take a little practice to accomplish, but I can assure you that the results will be greatly rewarding.



The second greatest problem contributing to bowler inconsistency is erratic timing. I define timing as the moment of release, which is ideally just prior to the bottom of the swing arc. When the release is timed correctly the ball continues forward on your target line (see armswing above), however if the ball is released fractionally early or fractionally late the course that it takes becomes unpredictable.

Our timing of the release is linked to our speed of approach and the length of our backswing. If the armswing is slower than the feet, the ball will miss to the right of our intended target - for right handed bowlers - (the opposite for lefties). If the armswing is faster than the feet the ball will miss to the left.

To correct this problem, try raising or lowering the ball in your stance. If the ball is missing to the right, then you should lower the ball in your stance before you start your approach. This will decrease the amount of your backswing slightly and put you back in sync. However, if you are missing consistently to the left, then try raising the ball to lengthen your backswing and correct your timing.

I hope that you can use these tips to help you enjoy bowling as much as I do.

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